Culinary and cultural phenom Mary Berg is back this month with a new daytime lifestyle series, The Good Stuff With Mary Berg weekdays at 10 a.m. on CTV. In a way, Berg is taking over for the legendary Toronto talk show icon Marilyn Denis. Here’s our conversation with Berg about her new show and a few of her Toronto faves.
What’s this show all about?
It’s a daily daytime show lifestyle series where we’re just going to kind of try to put a little bit of a bright spot in everybody’s day. My goal and hope for it is that, at the end of an hour of watching it, you kind of leave with a bit of a smile on your face, maybe a little bit of inspiration to try something new or try something different.
This is The Marilyn Denis Show’s former time, a show you’ve appeared on. What did you learn from her?
Honestly, I think she’s such a generous interviewer, such a generous person to work with. I was lucky enough to be an expert on that show many times, and getting to work next to her and learn from her and see how many wheels are turning, when everything’s happening, but still feeling like I was the getting all the focus was so amazing, and I really hope to carry that along with this show.
So let me get this straight, this isn’t a cooking show?
Oh, there is definitely going to be cooking. But it is not a cooking show. I don’t think I could do a show though without sharing the recipe. That’s one of my favourite things to do. I love writing recipes. And I love figuring out how maybe someone at home could make it and how I can make it easier for them. So there’s definitely going to be food.
What attracted you to the show?
Honestly, I think the thing that attracted me was I’ve always loved sharing. I really aced kindergarten. And I feel like in this format in the daily daytime slot, I can just share a little bit of joy with everybody every single day.
Who is your dream guest?
Oh my gosh, OK, so I probably have two. One is, obviously, Taylor Swift. And I feel like I’m just putting that into the universe. But like, I can’t even get a ticket. So let’s be honest. And then also, I love Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. She’s been my food hero for so long. Absolutely amazing. And I think she just brings great food to the masses.
OK, here are some short answer questions for you. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Oh, perfect. That’s starting with a big one. Honestly, reading a book, looking at birds, I know that’s boring, but doing both of those things. And just being OK being on your own. You know what I mean? Like sitting with yourself?
What was your first job?
The Gap, that was my first real job.
Worst piece of career advice?
Honestly, I think it’s don’t make your passion your job. That was one of the things that held me back from going into cooking off the bat — because I was nervous that I was going to lose the passion for it. But I am so grateful and lucky that I get to do what I love every single day.
Your favourite Toronto view?
I absolutely love the lakeshore. Anywhere along the lake just south of Exhibition Place is my absolute dream. There’s so many swans. I love a swan.
Your favourite Toronto restaurant?
Union on Ossington is my absolute favourite. It is consistent. It is so good. The food is out of control, their French fries. I don’t even get their desserts, and their desserts are amazing. I’ll eat a full meal and then order fries.
Which Torontonian would you most like to hang out with?
I feel like Geddy Lee would be really cool. We can talk glasses.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is butterflies. Truly, I don’t like it. I think it’s my type A personality. But the fact that a butterfly, like, never moves in a straight line freaks me right out.
What is your personal motto?
My personal motto is so silly. But if the birds are okay, I’m going to be okay. Even if I’m having the worst day ever, if I take a look outside and see a bird and they’re doing fine. It puts everything into perspective for me.